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Weekly_Rounds_January_15_2021_Preparing_For_Public_VaccinationsWeekly Rounds: January 15, 2021 - Preparing for Public VaccinationsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/Weekly_Rounds_January_15_2021_Preparing_For_Public_Vaccinations<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5> January 15, 2021 </h5> <h2> Preparing for Public Vaccinations </h2> <p> Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO </p> <p> Washington state is on the cusp of moving beyond health care into vaccinating the wider public, with the Department of Health <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Newsroom/Articles/ID/2565/COVID-19-vaccine-distribution-update-from-the-Washington-State-Department-of-Health">moving up its timeline</a> for Phase 1B of its vaccine rollout. While much is still to be determined, including the effect of potential increased federal support, here are some developments this week that can help you assist with the vaccine rollout. </p> <h3> Phase 1B and impact of changing federal guidance </h3> <p> The state has broken its Phase 1B into four tiers. At this time, the Department of Health has not decided if it will align with the updated guidance announced by the federal government this week. State public health officials are also waiting to hear from the Biden administration on what its plan is, and if it aligns with the new federal announcements. </p> <h4> 1B1 (Tier 1) </h4> <ul> <li>All people 70 years and older.</li> <li> People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households.</li> </ul> <h4> 1B2 (Tier 2) </h4> <ul> <li> High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in congregate settings: <ul> <li> Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); child care; corrections, prisons, jails, or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h4> 1B3 (Tier 3) </h4> <ul> <li> People 16 years or older with two or more comorbidities or underlying conditions.</li> </ul> <h4> 1B4 (Tier 4) </h4> <ul> <li> High-risk critical workers in congregate settings under 50 years old.</li> <li> People, staff, and volunteers of all ages in congregate living settings: <ul> <li> Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; shelters for people experiencing homelessness.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h3> Regulatory flexibilities for vaccine providers </h3> <p> To encourage more practice and clinic enrollment in the federal COVID-19 Vaccination Program and assistance in public vaccinations, the Department of Health has confirmed this week that: </p> <ul> <li> The activities of everyone engaged in the operation of vaccination clinics (and other vaccine efforts related to the COVID-19 response) is afforded the liability protections granted under the federal PREP Act.</li> <li> Reporting vaccine administration information to the Washington Immunization Information System (WIIS) satisfies any reporting that might be required in an electronic medical record to capture that a vaccine has been administered.</li> </ul> <p> For details on these flexibilities, see this <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/PREP-act-authorization-vaccination-program.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Department of Health notice</a>. To enroll your practice or organization in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, visit the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders">DOH website</a>. Check that page for a detailed FAQ. In addition, the WSMA has learned the following: </p> <ol> <li> <strong>When will vaccines be delivered to outpatient practices that have signed up to be COVID-19 vaccine providers? </strong>Similar to the state's childhood vaccine program, after the Department of Health approves a vaccine order for a provider, vaccines are delivered via FedEx from a central CDC warehouse directly to each provider facility, according to the facility's office hours.</li> <li> <strong>How are vaccines ordered?</strong> Currently the program is placing orders for providers based off information shared through a weekly survey. In the next few weeks, the DOH will transition to ordering through the Washington Immunization Information System (WIIS).</li> <li> <strong> Are there plans in place for mass vaccination sites?</strong> The Department of Health says that mass vaccination plans are in process.</li> </ol> <p> For questions about the enrollment process or for technical assistance, contact <a href="mailto:COVID.vaccine@doh.wa.gov">COVID.vaccine@doh.wa.gov</a>. </p> <h3> Volunteers needed for mass vaccination clinics </h3> <p> The state is calling for more clinician volunteers to assist with its COVID-19 response, including mass vaccination clinics. Register with the <a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.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.NMEoNlzksn8TM1fG4R8xwAYLsc6FUwUlFDMQt5uVUqo/s/690743948/br/80777590425-l">Washington State Emergency Registry of Volunteers</a> (WAserv) to partner with public health and others who need assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. </p> <h3> Finishing Phase 1A </h3> <p> This week, the Department of Health called on all workers in health care settings to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The DOH is asking workers in health care settings to use its Phase Finder tool at <a href="https://form.findyourphasewa.org/210118771253954">findyourphasewa.com</a> to locate a vaccine provider site and to confirm eligibility when presenting at the site. </p> <p> Phase Finder will launch broadly on Jan. 18. The tool will be available in multiple languages and is intended to be used to provide eligibility confirmation on site. </p> <p> Local health jurisdictions and some county medical societies are assisting in the vaccine rollout. Check your <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs/PublicHealthSystem/LocalHealthJurisdictions">local health jurisdiction website </a> and your <a href="[@]WSMA/About_Us/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/County_Medical_Societies.aspx">county medical society website</a> for information. If you would like WSMA's help getting connected with your local hospital to get you and your staff vaccinated, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FWFKFCX">complete our clinic form</a>. (Note: If you are in King County, fill out this <a href="https://redcap.vanderbilt.edu/surveys/?s=8WN7A8JTXW">King County Medical Society form</a>.) </p> <p> The Department of Health has clarified that some communities may move into phase 1B before other communities have finished 1A, in recognition of the differing makeup and needs of localities. For in-depth guidance for all released phases, see the Department of Health's <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/820-112-InterimVaccineAllocationPrioritization.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Guidance and Interim Allocation Framework</a> or visit their <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine">COVID-19 vaccine webpage</a>. </p> <h3> More information </h3> <p> While information and guidance are developing daily, the WSMA is meeting regularly with the Department of Health, the Washington State Hospital Association, and other stakeholders to assist with the largest mass vaccination effort in recent history. If you have additional questions, reach out to <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>1/15/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
2021_wsma_legislative_summit_save_the_date2021 WSMA Legislative Summit - Register Today!Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/January_7/2021_wsma_legislative_summit_save_the_date<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/January/2021-Leg-Summit1-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA 2021 Legislative Summit graphic" /> </div> <h5>January 7, 2020</h5> <h2>2021 WSMA Legislative Summit - Register Today! </h2> <p>As a result of the pandemic, leadership in the state House of Representatives and Senate have decided to hold the 2021 legislative session remotely and close the Capitol to the public, following public health guidelines. In response, the WSMA will hold the 2021 Legislative Summit virtually on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The event is free for WSMA members - one of the many benefits made possible by your dues dollars. The event is free for WSMA members—one of the many benefits made possible by your dues dollars. Registration is now available.</p> <p>This year's session will be dominated by issues of import to the physician community, as legislators seek to respond to the pandemic, balance the state's budget, and continue to reform the state's health care system. During the Summit you will receive an update on everything happening in Olympia, including WSMA's legislative priorities.</p> <p>The event will again feature prominent speakers and information on how to connect with your legislators via Zoom. And now there is no need to travel to Olympia to participate! We appreciate your understanding as we move this event online.</p> <p><a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx?hkey=795731a5-79ba-45b0-b78b-b9dfbfc336e5">Learn more and register for the 2021 Legislative Summit</a>.</p> <h3>About the 2021 legislative session</h3> <p>The 2021 legislative session will convene on Monday, Jan. 11 for a virtual "long session," lasting 105 days. During session, the WSMA Outreach and Advocacy report will be disseminated on a weekly basis and will include updates about WSMA's advocacy efforts and opportunities for engagement - if you'd like to receive this weekly report, send your request to Alex Wehinger at <a href="mailto:alex@wsma.org">alex@wsma.org</a>. Legislators will spend the majority of the first few weeks of session in virtual committee hearings, which will be streamed live and archived on <a href="https://www.tvw.org/">TVW</a>, Washington's public affairs network, for your viewing.</p> </div>1/7/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
doh_announces_details_on_next_phase_of_covid_19_vaccinationsDOH Announces Details on Next Phase of COVID-19 VaccinationsLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/January_7/doh_announces_details_on_next_phase_of_covid_19_vaccinations<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/January/COVID-vaccine-docs-syringe-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="COVID-19 vaccine syringe behind held by physicians" /> </div> <h5>January 7, 2020</h5> <h2>DOH Announces Details on Next Phase of COVID-19 Vaccinations</h2> <p>Washington State Department of Health officials this week announced details on the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, Phase 1B, while also committing to redoubling efforts to ensure all workers in health care settings in Phase 1A are able to get their vaccination.</p> <p>The state made clear in its announcement that it is not moving into Phase 1B yet, and that Washington is still in Phase 1A. Details and a timeline are being released by the DOH to allow for logistical and administrative planning.</p> <h3>Phase 1B details and timeline</h3> <p>The state has broken its Phase 1B into four tiers. This next phase is based upon the broad guidance provided by the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices as well as input from state partners and the public.</p> <h4>1B1 (Tier 1) </h4> <ul> <li>All people 70 years and older.</li> <li>People 50 years and older who live in multigenerational households.</li> </ul> <h4>1B2 (Tier 2)</h4> <ul> <li>High-risk critical workers 50 years and older who work in congregate settings: <ul> <li>Agriculture; food processing; grocery stores; K-12 (teachers and school staff); child care; corrections, prisons, jails, or detention facilities (staff); public transit; fire; law enforcement.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <h4>1B3 (Tier 3)</h4> <ul> <li>People 16 years or older with two or more co-morbidities or underlying condition.</li> </ul> <h4>1B4 (Tier 4)</h4> <ul> <li>High-risk critical workers in congregate settings under 50 years old.</li> <li>People, staff, and volunteers of all ages in congregate living settings:</li> <li>Correctional facilities; group homes for people with disabilities; shelters for people experiencing homelessness.</li> </ul> <p>The DOH has released a <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/VaccinationPhasesInfographic.pdf">timeline for phase 1B</a> and in-depth guidance for all released phases to in its <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/820-112-InterimVaccineAllocationPrioritization.pdf">COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization Guidance and Interim Allocation Framework </a>(updated Jan. 7, 2021). More details on the state's vaccine distribution planning can be found on the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine">DOH COVID-19 Vaccine webpage</a>.</p> <h3>Phase 1A vaccinations</h3> <p>In announcing the new phase, DOH officials emphasized that pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals in Washington are still hard at work vaccinating people in Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2. The DOH is working closely with the WSMA, the Washington State Hospital Association, and other health care partners to help ensure all workers in health care settings get vaccinated as quickly as possible. However, the state did indicate some communities may move into phase 1B before other communities have finished 1A, in recognition of the differing makeup and needs of localities. If you are having issues accessing vaccinations for yourself or your staff, see our update in this issue ("<a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/January_7/getting_you_and_your_staff_vaccinated.aspx">Getting You and Your Staff Vaccinated</a>").</p> </div>1/7/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
getting_you_and_your_staff_vaccinatedGetting You and Your Staff VaccinatedLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/January_7/getting_you_and_your_staff_vaccinated<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2021/January/COVID-19-Vaccine-Illustration-Black-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="COVID-19 vaccine illustration" /> </div> <h5>January 7, 2020</h5> <h2>Getting You and Your Staff Vaccinated</h2> <p>All workers in health care settings can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine under the state's <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/VaccineAllocationPhase1A.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2</a>. However, the WSMA continues to hear from members facing hurdles accessing the vaccine for their practice and staff. The following guidance can help.</p> <h3>Phase Finder tool</h3> <p>The Washington State Department of Health is piloting "Phase Finder," a new tool now available for health care workers in Phase 1A, tiers 1 and 2, that does the following:</p> <ul> <li>Assesses eligibility confirmation and provides confirmation that can be used at a vaccine administration site in lieu of an official letter (note: providers are likely to ask for ID and/or badge).</li> <li>Identifies where they can go to get vaccinated.</li> </ul> <p>To access the tool, go to <a href="https://wadoh.jotform.com/203418436942154">findyourphasewa.com</a>. Once you get to the final screen, you will find sites where you can get vaccinated. Please note: The state has clarified that this is a "soft launch" of the tool; in testing, WSMA staff found some of the vaccine site information neither complete nor accurate. This is especially true for the urban hospitals and the contacts listed. WSMA staff also found the tool to be slow; patience, and retries, are advised.</p> <p>Phase Finder will launch broadly on Jan. 18 (state officials have advised not to share the tool beyond Phase 1A individuals at this time). The tool will be available in multiple languages and is intended to be used to provide eligibility confirmation onsite.</p> <h3>How the WSMA can help your practice get vaccinated</h3> <p>If you would like WSMA's help with getting your clinic connected with your local hospital, please complete our clinic form, emailed to all outpatient, non-hospital-affiliated physicians in our records on Wednesday, Jan. 6. We will share your information with your local hospital so that you and your staff are vaccinated as soon as possible. If your practice did not receive the email and form, <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FWFKFCX">click here to access</a>. For questions, email <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>.</p> <p>Please note if your practice is in King County: The King County Medical Society is providing assistance for clinics in King County. Go <a href="https://redcap.vanderbilt.edu/surveys/?s=8WN7A8JTXW">here</a> to access the KCMS form. WSMA members in King County are welcome to reach out to KCMS directly with any questions or concerns at <a href="mailto:info@kcmsociety.org">info@kcmsociety.org</a>.</p> <p>We know several county medical societies are also collecting this information and coordinating with local public health departments. To learn more about what's happening at your local county medical society, <a href="[@]WSMA/About/Partner_Organizations/County_Medical_Societies/County_Medical_Societies.aspx">reach out to them directly</a>.</p> <p>If you have additional questions, reach out to <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>.</p> </div>1/7/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
register_for_our_next_covid_19_virtual_grand_rounds_q_and_a_sessionRegister for Our Next COVID-19 Virtual Grand Rounds Q&A SessionLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/2021/January_7/register_for_our_next_covid_19_virtual_grand_rounds_q_and_a_session<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/November/Virtual-Grand-Rounds-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="COVID-19 Virtual Grand Rounds logo" /> </div> <h5>January 7, 2020</h5> <h2>Register for Our Next COVID-19 Virtual Grand Rounds Q&A Session</h2> <p>With a focus on what front-line physicians need to know about the virus, the WSMA brings together Washington state's public health leaders and leading experts for free CME sessions that offer the latest information on COVID-19 that directly impacts you, your practice, and your patients. This members-only webinar series addresses the evolution of the disease, management of COVID-19 patients, vaccines, and our state's response to the pandemic.</p> <p>For this next session on Wednesday, Jan. 27, we will once again convene an expert panel of physicians and public health professionals to answer your questions about COVID-19 testing, treatment options, long-term follow-up, and vaccines. Panelists include:</p> <ul> <li>SheAnne Allen, MPH, MCHES, COVID-19 vaccine director and deputy PCH response director, Office of Immunization and Child Profile, Washington State Department of Health</li> <li>Jason Goldman, MD, MPH, infectious disease and organ transplant, Swedish Medical Center</li> <li>Lisa Jackson, MD, MPH, senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute</li> <li>Scott Lindquist, MD MPH, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases, Washington State Department of Health</li> <li>Francis Riedo, MD, medical director of infection control, EvergreenHealth</li> <li>Yuan-Po Tu, MD, medical director, anticoagulation clinic, Epic provider efficiency, and flu services, The Everett Clinic</li> </ul> <p><a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx">Register online to reserve your spot today</a>. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>â„¢.</p> </div>1/7/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
the_latest_on_washington_states_vaccine_distribution_planThe Latest on Washington State's Vaccine Distribution PlanLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2021/the_latest_on_washington_states_vaccine_distribution_plan<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/May/COVID-19-Response-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="COVID-19 Response graphic" /> </div> <h5>January 5, 2021</h5> <h2>The Latest on Washington State's Vaccine Distribution Plan</h2> <p> The WSMA has been working closely with the Washington State Department of Health on the state's vaccine distribution plan. On Dec. 30, the state announced an addition to <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/VaccineAllocationPhase1A.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Washington's 1A vaccine allocation guidance</a>. </p> <p> According to the DOH, some communities in Washington have already completed or are very close to completing vaccination of their high-risk workers in health care settings as outlined in current DOH guidance. <strong>They have added a second tier to 1A that allows for the vaccination of all other workers in health care settings once high-risk workers are vaccinated.</strong> </p> <p> Please note some communities are still working through 1A and others will be able to move to this second tier of 1A more quickly. The DOH has instructed health care systems around the state to actively reach out to and provide access to COVID-19 vaccination for those in the community-based health care workforce outside their systems and in their community—this includes other health care providers, school nurses, and behavioral health providers—in order to complete this phase and ensure we have a protected health care system. </p> <p> The state is still working to finalize prioritization for phases 1B and 1C and expects to release this guidance shortly after the new year so communities can begin planning outreach and vaccination of these groups. </p> <p> The WSMA will continue to keep you up to date on any future developments. Be sure to read our Membership Memo or visit our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/covid_19_vaccines/covid_19_vaccines.aspx?hkey=fce03e80-d2e1-463c-b1f3-7257addd7814&WebsiteKey=c182ff6d-1438-4899-abc5-614681b54927&_zs=A3aFd1&_zl=PINK7">COVID-19 vaccine webpage</a>. </p> </div>1/5/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_january_4_2021_a_new_year_new_opportunitiesWeekly Rounds: January 4, 2021 - A New Year, New OpportunitiesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2021/weekly_rounds_january_4_2021_a_new_year_new_opportunities<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>January 1, 2021</h5> <h2>A New Year, New Opportunities</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Reflecting on this most unusual of years - though obviously full of challenges - I'm a bit surprised to find a silver lining to inform my New Year's resolution. </p> <p> In the "beforetimes," I rarely worked from home, my calendar was full of cross-country travel, and important meetings were held in person. Had it not been for COVID-19 universally upending our world, we wouldn't have had such a radical transformation in how we do business. That sea change allowed me more time for family, even while I was working around the clock. I also learned that if we're willing to do things differently - for example, doing a meeting via Zoom rather than flying to meet in person - it's possible to do both. </p> <p> And so, my resolution for this brand new - and hopefully, brighter - year is to embrace the acceptance and openness to do things differently. </p> <p> What about you? I know we've all had to adapt to these new times we're in. I hope as you consider how you might do things differently in 2021 that you'll consider these "investment" ideas for your New Year's resolutions. </p> <ol> <li><strong>Invest in a brighter future</strong>: WSMA's ability to follow our mission to improve the medical profession is fueled by the membership investment you make with us. When you partner with us, we are enabled to raise the physician voice with the clout associated with being the <em>largest physician association in the state</em>. We are part of the highest-level health care conversations because of our size, credibility, influence, and stature within the health care community. As policymakers grapple with complex issues that impact patients and health care, it is the WSMA that brings forth the unique clinical view that only a physician can provide. I hope you will resolve to <a href="https://wsma.org/renew">renew your membership</a> today!</li> <li><strong>Invest in the profession</strong>: Next week, the January/February issue of <em>WSMA Reports</em> will be in your mailbox. Within its pages, you'll read about how the challenges of 2020 will shape the 2021 legislative session. This year's session will be conducted remotely, with many legislators remaining in their districts as they convene to shape new laws and regulations via Zoom. WSMA's Legislative Summit offers members an opportunity to hear insights about how the pandemic is impacting state policy, as well as the downstream impacts on the profession and health care in general. We'll also provide a briefing on legislative and budget policy issues that will set you up for more constructive outreach with your elected officials, particularly on items critical to the profession and patients. Mark your calendar for Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. The Summit is free to all members. <a href="[@]WSMA/Events/Legislative_Summit/WSMA/Events/WSMA_Legislative_Summit/Legislative_Summit.aspx">Find out more here</a>.</li> <li><strong>Invest in yourself</strong>: The WSMA is committed to your professional development, particularly enhancing and building your leadership skills, regardless of where you are in your career or the type or size of your organization. Our <a href="[@]WSMA/Education/Physician_Leadership/WSMA/Physician_Leadership/Physician_Leadership.aspx">Center for Leadership Development</a> offers multiple opportunities to develop your leadership skills without taking time away from your practice. This year, we are also launching a new quality improvement course to help our members lead in the transformation of care. Many physicians did not receive training in medical school on how to lead quality improvement. But with this training, physicians can acquire the skills to guide their organizations to deliver safe and effective care. Let this be the year you take advantage of these educational opportunities.</li> </ol> <p> As we embark on a new year, one thing will not change: The WSMA will remain committed to aggressively advocating for you, our members, at the highest levels of influence so that we can continue to advance strong physician leadership and advocacy that shapes the future of medicine and improves quality care for all Washingtonians. </p> <p> Here's to 2021. Happy New Year! </p> </div>1/1/2021 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
congressional_agreement_reached_on_government_funding_emergency_covid_19_stimulus_e_m_fix_inCongressional Agreement Reached on Government Funding, Emergency COVID-19 Stimulus, E&M FixLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201223/congressional_agreement_reached_on_government_funding_emergency_covid_19_stimulus_e_m_fix_in<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/May/COVID-19-financial-relief-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="COVID-19 financial relief logo" /> </div> <h5>December 23, 2020</h5> <h2> Congressional Agreement Reached on Government Funding, Emergency COVID-19 Stimulus, E&M Fix Included </h2> <p> Federal lawmakers have reached an agreement on a $900 billion stimulus relief effort, a long-awaited follow-up to the CARES Act from March. Intended to facilitate the pandemic response, the agreement provides $20 billion for the purchase of vaccines so they can be available at no charge to patients, and appropriates $9 billion for distribution of the vaccines and $22 billion to states for costs associated with testing, tracing, and COVID-19 mitigation. The bill also addresses previously announced cuts to the physician fee schedule with funding to offset two-thirds of the cuts to providers in 2021. A prohibition on "surprise" or "balance" billing was separately negotiated and included as a part of the final agreement. </p> <p> Notable provisions include: </p> <h3> Paycheck Protection Program "second draw" loans </h3> <p> Creates a second loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, called a "PPP second draw" loan, for smaller and harder-hit businesses, with a maximum amount of $2 million, permitting certain borrowers to receive a second loan. </p> <h3> COVID-19 </h3> <p>Provides $25.4 billion to support testing and contact tracing to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19, as well as to reimburse for health care-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to the coronavirus, including: </p> <ul> <li>$22.4 billion for testing, contact tracing, and other activities necessary to effectively monitor and suppress COVID-19, including $2.5 billion for a targeted effort to improve testing capabilities and contact tracing in high-risk and underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities.</li> <li>$3 billion in additional grants for hospital and health care providers to be reimbursed for health care-related expenses or lost revenue directly attributable to the public health emergency resulting from coronavirus, along with direction to allocate not less than 85% of unobligated funds in the Provider Relief Fund through an application-based portal to reimburse health care providers for financial losses incurred in 2020.</li> </ul> <h3> Additional 2020 recovery rebates for individuals </h3> <p> The provision provides a refundable tax credit in the amount of $600 per eligible family member. The credit is $600 per taxpayer ($1,200 for married filing jointly), in addition to $600 per qualifying child. The credit phases out starting at $75,000 of modified adjusted gross income ($112,500 for heads of household and $150,000 for married filing jointly) at a rate of $5 per $100 of additional income. </p> <h3> Extension and benefit phaseout rule for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance </h3> <p> Extends Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to March 14, 2021 and allows individuals receiving benefits as of March 14, 2021 to continue through April 5, 2021, if the individual has not reached the maximum number of weeks. </p> <h3> Medicare payment changes </h3> <ul> <li>Provides for a one-time, one-year increase to all payments in the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule by adding $3 billion and delaying payment of HCPCS add-on code G2211 for three years. This provision is intended to support physicians and other professionals in adjusting to changes in the Medicare physician fee schedule during 2021, and to provide relief during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The AMA has provided <a href="https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/2020-12/2020-combined-impact-table.pdf">a breakdown by specialty of the combined impact of these updates to the conversion factor</a>.</li> <li>Provides for a three-month delay of the Medicare sequester payment reductions through March 31, 2021.</li> <li>Increases payments for the work component of physician fees in areas where labor cost is determined to be lower than the national average through Dec. 31, 2023.</li> <li>Creates 1,000 new Medicare-funded graduate medical education residency positions.</li> <li>Expands access to mental health services provided via telehealth past the expiration of the public health emergency.</li> </ul> <h3> Surprise/balance billing</h3> <ul> <li>Requires health plans to hold patients harmless from surprise medical bills.</li> <li>Provides for a 30-day open negotiation period for physicians and payers to settle out-of-network claims.</li> <li>States that if the parties are unable to reach a negotiated agreement, they may access a binding arbitration process, referred to as independent dispute resolution (IDR), in which one offer prevails.</li> </ul> <p> <a href="https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/Summary%20of%20H.R.%20133%20Coronavirus%20Relief%20Provisions.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Click here for a comprehensive summary of the appropriations bill.</a> </p> <p> Thank you to all our members who joined in our calls to actions to seek additional relief for physician practices and to mitigate the originally announced physician fee schedule cuts. </p> </div>12/23/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
covid_19_vaccine_updates_for_physicians_and_practiceCOVID-19 Vaccine Updates for Physicians and PracticeLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201223/covid_19_vaccine_updates_for_physicians_and_practice<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/Dr-Schlicher-COVID-Vaccine1-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" /> </div> <h5>December 23, 2020</h5> <h2> COVID-19 Vaccine Updates for Physicians and Practices </h2> <p> After <a href="https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-takes-additional-action-fight-against-covid-19-issuing-emergency-use-authorization-second-covid">FDA emergency use authorization</a> and subsequent <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-authorization-moderna-vaccine-western-states-scientific-safety-review">review and approval</a> by the Western states' COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is being shipped this week to facilities across the state - including many primary care clinics and practices. More on this and other vaccine-related news in this update. </p> <h3> State targets primary care facilities with Moderna doses </h3> <p> On the Moderna vaccine, the state estimates 128,000 doses will be allocated this week, along with an additional 44,850 of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The Pfizer doses will continue to go to hospitals that can accommodate the ultra-cold storage requirements, while the Moderna doses, which are easier to handle and store, shipped to many primary care clinics, private medical groups, public health facilities, and other facilities enrolled in the state's COVID-19 Vaccination Program. </p> <p> <strong>Important:</strong> The Department of Health continues to encourage facilities interested in administering the vaccine, including outpatient practices not affiliated with a hospital, to enroll. To learn more, visit <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders">the DOH website for details</a>. According to the DOH, enrollment will allow practices to get the vaccine directly and administer it to their patients and staff. For clinics needing less than 100 doses, the DOH recommends partnering with another practice nearby for the purposes of vaccinating staff. </p> <p> For questions about the enrollment process or general question on the state's vaccine rollout, please contact <a href="mailto:COVID.vaccine@doh.wa.gov">COVID.vaccine@doh.wa.gov</a>. </p> <h3> Vaccine prioritization </h3> <p> Washington is currently in <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/VaccineAllocationPhase1A.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">Phase 1a of its COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidance</a>, which focuses on vaccinating two groups: High-risk health care workers and first responders, and residents and staff of nursing homes and other congregate living settings where people over 65 are getting care or assistance. Early this week, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices released its <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm695152e2.htm?s_cid=mm695152e2_w">interim guidance for the next stages of COVID-19 vaccine allocation</a>. The advisory panel recommended for Phase 1b, COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to persons aged ≥75 years and non-health care front-line essential workers, and in Phase 1c, to persons aged 65–74 years, persons aged 16–64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not included in Phase 1b. </p> <p> The Department of Health is expected to release the next two phases of Washington's distribution plan based on the ACIP guidance in the days ahead. State officials have said they expect to have all front-line health professionals in Phase 1a vaccinated with their first dose by the end of January. </p> <p> <strong>Important: </strong>We continue to hear from outpatient health care workers struggling to access the vaccine. WSMA staff has relayed these concerns to the DOH, who in turn has reassured us that the agency is working on increasing points of access, and expects to release guidance shortly on how to help those who are eligible for the vaccine but not able to vaccinate themselves or aren't affiliated with a hospital or health system. The WSMA will make this guidance available as soon as we receive it. In the meantime, some hospitals are setting up "pods" to vaccinate outpatient workers. Hospitals operating a pod will be required to designate themselves as such. Reach out to your local hospital today to learn about their plans for vaccinating outpatient health care workers. </p> <h3> Clinical information and vaccination training </h3> <p> New from the CDC is <a href="https://www2.cdc.gov/vaccines/ed/covid19/">COVID-19 Vaccine Training: General Overview of Immunization Best Practices for Healthcare Professionals</a>. This is an online, self-paced module for health care providers who will be administering COVID-19 vaccine. For more accredited training on administering COVID-19 vaccines, see <a href="https://accme.org/resources-category/novel-coronavirus-education">this searchable database</a> from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. </p> <p> ICYMI: A WSMA Virtual Grand Rounds panel on Dec. 16 featured an hour-long Q&A session for physicians on COVID-19. The panel featured six physician experts with a deep understanding of COVID-19 vaccine, testing, and treatment knowledge, answering questions on: </p> <ul> <li>Vaccine distribution and prioritization</li> <li>Immune response to the vaccine</li> <li>Vaccinations for pregnant women and women who are breast feeding</li> <li>Vaccinations about people with auto-immune disorders</li> <li>Adverse reactions to the vaccine</li> <li>Testing strategies - testing at volume</li> <li>Current treatment strategies</li> </ul> <p> The panel was recorded and is now <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Education/On_Demand_Webinars/WSMA/education/On_Demand_Webinars/Webinars_OnDemand.aspx?hkey=c3940e65-ff14-4c25-a05d-b85a147c9fa0">available on demand</a>. </p> <h3> Guidance on reimbursement </h3> <p> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offers a toolkit to help physicians and others in health care prepare to swiftly administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Because the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be federally purchased, the toolkit primarily focuses on coverage of vaccine administration. This toolkit covers: </p> <ul> <li>How health care providers can enroll in Medicare to bill for administering COVID-19 vaccines.</li> <li>The COVID-19 Vaccine Medicare coding structure.</li> <li>The Medicare reimbursement strategy for COVID-19 vaccine administration.</li> <li>How health care providers can bill correctly for administering vaccines, including roster and centralized billing.</li> </ul> <p> Find the toolkit on the CMS website <a href="https://www.cms.gov/covidvax-provider">here</a>. </p> <p><em>Pictured: WSMA President Nathan Schlicher, MD, receiving his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.</em></p> </div>12/23/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
health_alerts_on_tuberculosis_and_youth_suicideHealth Alerts on Tuberculosis and Youth SuicideLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201223/health_alerts_on_tuberculosis_and_youth_suicide<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/August/Stethoscope-on-table-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="stethoscope" /> </div> <h5>December 23, 2020</h5> <h2> Health Alerts on Tuberculosis and Youth Suicide </h2> <p> The Washington State Department of Health issued the following provider alerts this week. </p> <h3> Delayed and misdiagnosed TB due to COVID-19 </h3> <p> State epidemiologists have noticed a significant uptick in tuberculosis cases throughout Washington during the pandemic. Believing the increase is due to a reduction in the number of TB cases reported, delayed diagnosis, and undiscovered cases, the state has issued a health advisory asking physicians to consider pulmonary TB disease in patients presenting with symptoms and risk factors consistent with TB, regardless of COVID-19 test results. The advisory provides these clinical recommendations: </p> <ul> <li>Include pulmonary TB disease in the differential diagnosis of cough for more than two weeks, fever and/or weight loss among those from a country with an elevated TB rate.</li> <li>If the patient's symptoms are consistent with active TB, obtain a chest X-ray.</li> <li>If the chest X-ray is consistent with TB disease (e.g., an opacity in the upper lobe with or without cavitation), contact your local health department.</li> </ul> <p> <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2020/TBandCOVID-HealthAlert_20201220.pdf]">Download the DOH health advisory</a>, issued Dec. 21, 2020. The DOH also offers a poster as part of its TB health advisory - <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2020/420-300_TB-Poster_FINAL_121420.pdf]">click here to download</a>. </p> <h3> Screening youth for suicide risk </h3> <p> State public health officials are warning that a convergence of factors, including an extended disillusionment phase associated with the pandemic, the disruption of school, social isolation, and seasonal changes, may be leading to an increased risk of suicide attempts, suicidal ideation, and psychological distress among youth in Washington. In a provider alert issued this week, the Washington State Department of Health is asking physicians to: </p> <ul> <li>Screen patients for suicide risk, particularly children, teens, and young adults.</li> <li>Share information and resources with patients and their families on crisis support, suicide warning signs, and suicide risk factors.</li> </ul> <p> The DOH has provided resources to assist physicians and health care providers in screening and sharing resources with patients and families. <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2020/COVID-19-Provider-Alert-Regarding-Suicide-Risk-in-Youth.pdf]">Download the provider alert with links to associated resources</a>. </p> </div>12/23/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
new_webinar_complying_with_state_opioid_regulations_through_improved_prescribing_practicesNew Webinar: Complying with State Opioid Regulations Through Improved Prescribing PracticesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201223/new_webinar_complying_with_state_opioid_regulations_through_improved_prescribing_practices<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/opiates_hydrocodone_645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="hydrocodone bottle and pills" /> </div> <h5>December 23, 2020</h5> <h2> New Webinar: Complying with State Opioid Regulations Through Improved Prescribing Practices </h2> <p> In the latest in our Continuing Professional Development series, Dr. Nathan Schlicher, president of the WSMA, and Jeb Shepard, director of policy at the WSMA, will review the Washington state opioid prescribing requirement and outline strategies to comply with specific requirements of opioid prescribing rules. They will detail additional resources available for up-to-date evidence-based information on opioid prescribing. This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Creditâ„¢</em>. Completion of this enduring material CME activity about state opioid prescribing rules meets new state opioid CME requirements. <a href="https://wsma.org/WSMA/Education/Upcoming_Webinars/WSMA/education/Upcoming_Webinars/Upcoming_Webinars.aspx?hkey=b760d6bd-1833-412d-b681-babf251792a8">Register online</a>. </p> </div>12/23/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
public_health_funding_covid_19_response_take_center_stage_in_governor’s_budget_proposalPublic Health Funding, COVID-19 Response Take Center Stage in Governor’s Budget ProposalLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201223/public_health_funding_covid_19_response_take_center_stage_in_governor’s_budget_proposal<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/State.Capitol.Olympia_2015-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Washington state capitol building" /> </div> <h5>December 23, 2020</h5> <h2> Public Health Funding, COVID-19 Response Take Center Stage in Governor's Budget Proposal </h2> <p> Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee released his budget plan for the two-year fiscal cycle that will begin next July, proposing a $57.6 billion operating budget that covers the state's costs associated with health care, education, and other general government functions. An annual sign that the legislative session is approaching, the governor's budget proposal sets the table for negotiations that will commence in earnest when the 2021 Legislature convenes on Jan. 11. </p> <h3> Pandemic and public health investments </h3> <p> Many elements of the governor's spending plan were shaped by or a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health took center stage, with around $400 million in funding dedicated to pandemic response in the form of vaccine administration, containing the spread of the virus, supporting the purchase of supplies and taking other measures necessary to keep our state's residents healthy and our health care system online. An ambitious plan to fund Foundational Public Health Services through a new fee on health insurers was among the highlights of the budget, though it relies on a regionalization of the local public health system that many in the public health community feel would be disruptive. In the coming months, the WSMA will work with the governor's office, the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials and other stakeholders in the public health community to support a well-funded and organized state and local public health system. </p> <h3> Taxes and revenues </h3> <p> As he has in the past, the governor is again seeking to establish a capital gains tax, proposing a 9% tax on the sale of stocks and other assets, which would impact around 2% of households in the state and raise more than $1 billion per year once it goes into effect in 2023. The Legislature has debated the creation of a capital gains tax extensively in recent years and while many majority-party Democrats advocate for its establishment in the interest of increasing state revenues and making Washington's tax structure less regressive, it's not clear if there is sufficient support for the measure to pass this year. </p> <p> The push for tax increases is driven in part by the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. While forecasts for future state revenue receipts have improved since the spring when many physician practices and other businesses were limited or shuttered altogether, the state still figures to take in around $3 billion less over the next three years than was anticipated before the pandemic. In addition to the capital gains tax and health insurer fee proposed by the governor, the Legislature will likely consider establishing a statewide payroll tax and may look to again increase the state's business and occupation (B&O) tax. These taxes would layer on top of a potentially significant increase in the state's unemployment insurance rate for businesses. The WSMA will participate in these revenue negotiations, acknowledging the state's budget picture but also reminding legislators that many physician organizations are struggling financially and not in a position to absorb more costs. </p> <h3> Mental health/primary care investments </h3> <p> Elsewhere, the governor's budget proposal seeks to make considerable investments in the state's mental health system, increasing staffing at the state's psychiatric hospitals, supporting patient competency evaluation and restoration, and increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for behavioral health services. Earlier this year, the Legislature approved Medicaid rate increases for behavioral health and primary care services, but the appropriations were vetoed by the governor as he sought to get ahead of the looming budget shortfall. While the primary care rate adjustments were not included in the governor's budget, seeking its restoration will be the top budget priority of the WSMA in the 2021 session. </p> <p> And while finding agreement on a new state budget will be the primary duty of the 2021 Legislature, any number of policy proposals will be considered as well when the gavel drops next month. It'll all play out in a very different format as legislators will meet almost entirely remotely this year, with committee hearings and other functions of the legislative process taking place via Zoom. </p> <h3> Join us on Jan. 8 to learn more </h3> <p> WSMA's Government Affairs & Policy team will host a session preview webinar at noon on Friday, Jan. 8, giving a rundown on our legislative priorities and other key issues for the physician community. <a href="https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAuf-2grToqH9ZiXOnRZ9_1LO6vHS7HDseB">Register for the free session</a>. </p> <p> For questions on our advocacy efforts, email WSMA Government Affairs Director Sean Graham at <a href="mailto:sean@wsma.org">sean@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>12/23/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
telemedicine_medical_professional_training_now_availableTelemedicine Medical Professional Training Now AvailableLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201223/telemedicine_medical_professional_training_now_available<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/Telemedicine-Doc-On-Tablet-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="physician on tablet screen" /> </div> <h5>December 23, 2020</h5> <h2> Telemedicine Medical Professional Training Now Available </h2> <p> In 2020, the Legislature passed <a href="https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=6061&Initiative=false&Year=2019">Senate Bill 6061</a>, making telemedicine training mandatory for all licensed, registered, or certified health care professionals providing telemedicine services, beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Physicians are excluded from the mandate; however, they are encouraged to complete such training. The Washington State Telehealth Collaborative has published <a href="https://www.wsha.org/policy-advocacy/issues/telemedicine/washington-state-telemedicine-collaborative/telemedicine-training">a webpage with detailed guidance on the training requirement</a>, and has partnered with the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center to offer free telemedicine training to meet the new state requirement. To enroll, visit the <a href="https://nrtrc.catalog.instructure.com/courses/washington-state-healthcare-professional-telemedicine-training">Washington State Medical Professional Telemedicine Training</a> webpage. </p> </div>12/23/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_18_2020_covid_19_vaccines_arrive_in_washington_stateWeekly Rounds: December 18, 2020 - COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Washington StateLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_december_18_2020_covid_19_vaccines_arrive_in_washington_state<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 18, 2020</h5> <h2>COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Washington State</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> So much of this past year has made history, but surely nothing has been more historic than the rapid development of a COVID-19 vaccine in mere months. Considering that vaccines for mumps, yellow fever, typhoid fever, smallpox, and others took years to develop, seeing the first COVID-19 vaccines in our state being administered this week is nothing short of a minor miracle. </p> <p> I know all of our members are following these developments closely, but I wanted to summarize a few things here that you need to know. </p> <p> With COVID-19 vaccines now on the ground in Washington state, initial allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are on their way to selected health care facilities and FDA authorization is expected for a Moderna vaccine shortly. </p> <p> The WSMA continues to work closely with the state to help inform its efforts, including providing input on the state's interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, hosting public health leaders and physician experts in our member education efforts, and coordinating with health care stakeholders to help instill confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and ensure successful and equitable distribution and administration. </p> <p> The Washington State Department of Health released Phase 1A of the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Guidance on Dec 10. Phase 1A focuses on vaccinating two groups: </p> <ul> <li>High-risk workers in health care settings and high-risk first responders.</li> <li>Residents and staff of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other community-based, congregate living settings where people over 65 are getting care or assistance.</li> </ul> <p> The DOH estimates around 500,000 people in Washington will be eligible for the vaccine in Phase 1A. For more specific information, please see the <a href="https://lnks.gd/l/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJidWxsZXRpbl9saW5rX2lkIjoxMDEsInVyaSI6ImJwMjpjbGljayIsImJ1bGxldGluX2lkIjoiMjAyMDEyMTIuMzE5NDk1MjEiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy5kb2gud2EuZ292L1BvcnRhbHMvMS9Eb2N1bWVudHMvMTYwMC9jb3JvbmF2aXJ1cy9WYWNjaW5lQWxsb2NhdGlvblBoYXNlMUEucGRmIn0.Zf16u6N9FixrWpYmxFUMT1yDNpJzNqEbOqRlcVC0cf4/s/690743948/br/91611937223-l">WA State COVID-19 Allocation Guidance for Phase 1A PDF</a>. The DOH will make decisions on who will be vaccinated in later phases based on guidance made by the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. </p> <p> For an overview of the state's vaccine distribution plan, see the Washington State Interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan available on the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine">DOH website</a>. The plan is a living document and will change over time as we learn more about the vaccines and figure out the most equitable way to protect people. </p> <p> <strong>The DOH recommends that outpatient practices not affiliated with a hospital enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider as soon as possible.</strong> <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders">Complete enrollment information is available here</a>. According to the DOH, enrollment will allow practices to get the vaccine directly and administer it to their patients and staff. For clinics needing less than 100 doses, the DOH recommends partnering with another practice nearby for the purposes of vaccinating staff. </p> <p> Some hospitals will be setting up "pods" to vaccinate outpatient workers. Hospitals operating a pod will be required to designate themselves as such. Reach out to your local hospital today to learn about their plans for vaccinating outpatient health care workers. </p> <p> The Department of Health is continually gathering feedback on the COVID-19 vaccination process. Visit the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/VaccineInformation/Engagement">DOH website</a> to learn more about engagement efforts and how to provide feedback. </p> <p> I never cease to be amazed at the creativity, tenacity, and commitment of the medical profession and the physicians who care for us all. That includes each of you. Thank you! </p> </div>12/18/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_president_receives_covid_19_vaccine_calls_it_a_triumph_for_science_and_medicineWSMA President Receives COVID-19 Vaccine, Calls It a Triumph for Science and MedicineLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Press_Release/2020/wsma_president_receives_covid_19_vaccine_calls_it_a_triumph_for_science_and_medicine<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right"><img src="/images/Logos/Press-Release-Graphic-2019-Branding.png" class="pull-right" alt="WSMA press release logo" /></div> <h5>December 17, 2020</h5> <h2>WSMA President Receives COVID-19 Vaccine, Calls It a Triumph for Science and Medicine</h2> <p> SEATTLE - Washington State Medical Association President and emergency medicine physician Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA, on Wednesday morning received the first of two doses of the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to protect against COVID-19 disease. The WSMA, which represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, residents, and medical and physician assistant students in Washington state, is hailing the vaccine as a triumph for science and medicine and a breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19. </p> <p> "As an emergency department physician, I'm honored to be among the first to receive this vaccine, and I'm beyond grateful for the extraordinary efforts by our public health and scientific communities to ensure its safety and effectiveness," said Dr. Schlicher, who practices at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma and serves as the regional director of quality assurance for the emergency departments of CHI Franciscan. "But like a lot of us on the front lines, I'm exhausted. Right now, I'm thinking about my patients and how this vaccine will help keep me and thousands of other health care workers healthy and able to continue providing needed care. I'll save my celebration for when this pandemic is truly over." </p> <p> COVID-19 vaccines are now on the ground in Washington state, with initial allocations of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on their way to selected Washington health care facilities. Following the FDA's emergency use authorization on Dec. 12, an independent scientific review committee comprising immunization, public health, academic, and other physician experts from Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, and California, independently reviewed the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine. The committee granted its unanimous recommendation of the vaccine on Dec. 12. </p> <p> "I think I can safely speak for so many of us in and outside of medicine, that we are humbled to bear witness to history being made - made all the more bittersweet by the shadow of tragedy we still live under. More than 300,000 Americans are not with us to share in this moment," Dr. Schlicher said. "I can't say this enough, that we all owe a debt of gratitude for our health researchers, our public health servants, and to health workers everywhere. This moment belongs to them and their tireless efforts to serve and protect all of us." </p> <p> The WSMA continues to work closely with state officials to help inform its pandemic response, including providing input on the state's interim COVID-19 Vaccination Plan and coordinating with health care stakeholders to help instill confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and ensure successful and equitable distribution and administration. </p> <p> "I hope physicians and health care workers everywhere will get the vaccine when their time comes. We must continue to model good, science- and public health-based behavior for our patients," Dr. Schlicher said. "And for our patients, please, when your time comes to be vaccinated, protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and friends, and get the COVID-19 vaccine. </p> <p> "We can now see the end to this pandemic - but we must not let down our guard. Get vaccinated when your time comes and keep following sound public health practices. Celebrate, but remain vigilant." </p> <p> PHOTOS: <a href="https://wsma.org/doc_library/resources/covid_19_response/Dr-Schlicher-COVID-Vaccine1.jpg">Dr. Schlicher receives vaccine</a> and <a href="https://wsma.org/doc_library/resources/covid_19_response/Dr-Schlicher-COVID-Vaccine2.jpg">Dr. Schlicher gives thumbs up</a>. Photo credit: Cindy Sharpe for WSMA </p> <p> VIDEO: Available upon request </p> <p> For more information, contact: </p> <p> Cindy Sharpe<br /> WSMA Communications<br /> 813.244.2883 (cell/text)<br /> <a href="mailto:cindy@wsma.org">cindy@wsma.org</a> </p> <h4>About the WSMA</h4> <p> The Washington State Medical Association represents more than 11,000 physicians, physician assistants, resident physicians and medical students in Washington state. The WSMA has advocated on behalf of the house of medicine more than 125 years. Our vision is to make Washington state the best place to practice medicine and receive care. </p> </div>12/17/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
covid_19_vaccine_action_items_for_practicesCOVID-19 Vaccine Action Items for PracticesLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/December/covid_19_vaccine_action_items_for_practices<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/November/COVID-vaccine-docs-syringe-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Physicians carrying syringe illustration" /> </div> <h5>December 14, 2020</h5> <h2>COVID-19 Vaccine Action Items for Practices</h2> <p> The first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in our state! While this is welcome news, there are details about distribution and allocation that are critical for independent outpatient physician practices to understand to vaccinate their health care workers and patients. </p> <p> WSMA staff has been coordinating with the Department of Health and the Washington State Hospital Association and can share the following updates and two actions you can take today. </p> <h3>What we know today</h3> <ul> <li>According to the DOH, they expect to receive 62,400 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine this week. These doses will be distributed to 17 sites across 13 counties, leading to relatively small allocations. Emergency use authorization is also expected shortly for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, with allocations likely next week. Between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, DOH projects they will receive close to 200,000 doses during the week of Dec. 21 and 405,800 doses by the end of December.</li> <li>The first doses of the vaccine will go to high-risk workers in health care settings, high-risk first responders, and patients/staff of long-term care facilities. The DOH estimates that around 500,000 Washingtonians will be eligible for the vaccine in this phase. The DOH is following allocation guidance from the Center for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The DOH's interim COVID-19 vaccination plan is <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine">available here</a>.</li> <li>The DOH expects the Moderna vaccine to be more widely available—especially to small clinics. The Moderna vaccine comes in smaller quantities (100-dose orders at a time) and doesn't need to be stored at ultracold temperatures. The DOH is expecting to receive around 128,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.</li> </ul> <h3>Take these actions to help ensure access for your staff and patients</h3> <ul> <li>The DOH recommends that outpatient practices not affiliated with a hospital enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider as soon as possible. <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders">Complete enrollment information is available here</a>. According to the DOH, enrollment will allow practices to get the vaccine directly and administer it to their patients and staff. For clinics needing less than 100 doses, the DOH recommends partnering with another practice nearby for the purposes of vaccinating staff.</li> <li>The WSMA has learned that some hospitals will be setting up "pods" to vaccinate outpatient workers. Hospitals operating a pod will be required to designate themselves as such. Reach out to your local hospital today to learn about their plans for vaccinating outpatient health care workers. The WSMA will share information as it becomes available.</li> </ul> <h3>More information</h3> <p> The DOH has created a helpful <a href="https://https://coronavirus.wa.gov/partner-toolkit/covid-vaccines-questions-answers/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders">question and answer partner toolkit</a> with resources available in a number of languages and formats. </p> <p> This is a rapidly evolving situation and the WSMA will continue to engage on your behalf and share relevant updates as they become available. <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Vaccine">More information on the DOH on the COVID-19 vaccine is available here</a>. Should you have additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact the WSMA Policy Department at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> </div>12/14/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
take_action_tell_congress_to_support_hr_8702Take Action: Tell Congress to Support H.R. 8702Latest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201210/take_action_tell_congress_to_support_hr_8702<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/Megaphone-Evergreen-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Megaphone graphic" /> </div> <h5>December 10, 2020</h5> <h2>Take Action: Tell Congress to Support H.R. 8702</h2> <p>The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has finalized the 2021 Medicare physician fee schedule, updating payment policies for the Medicare Part B program and its associated payment models, effective on or after Jan. 1. While the WSMA is supportive of the final rule's streamlined documentation requirements and increased payment for office visits, the impact of corresponding specialty care cuts will be devastating to health care professionals, their practices, and most importantly, their patients.</p> <p>Notably, CMS has restructured and revalued the office-based evaluation and management codes in alignment with broad changes made in 2019. While the final rule provides an increase in payments for primary care and other office-based services, the effect will be a 10.2% reduction to the Medicare physician fee schedule conversion factor, resulting in drastic cuts to certain physician specialties starting Jan. 1. This is due to current law requiring any changes to the physician fee schedule to be budget neutral.</p> <p>These payment reductions, estimated in <a href="javascript://[Uploaded files/News and Publications/Newsletters/2020/CY_2021_PFS_Estimated_Impact_on_Total_Allowed_Charges_by_Specialty.pdf]">this chart by specialty</a>, will compound the significant financial difficulty that Washington's physician practices of all specialty types have experienced due to COVID-19. The cuts could potentially threaten patient access to medically necessary services, especially if specialists are forced to close or limit their practices. While we support increasing primary care reimbursements, doing so at the cost of other specialties will potentially result in fewer specialists to refer patients to in the community.</p> <p>H.R. 8702, the "Holding Providers Harmless from Medicare Cuts During COVID-19 Act," is bipartisan legislation before Congress that would freeze payments at 2020 rates for services scheduled to be cut in 2021 for a period of two years, while allowing the scheduled E/M increases to take place.</p> <p>The WSMA has joined the AMA and multiple other associations in supporting H.R. 8702. <strong>We urge you to join us in contacting your member of Congress now.</strong>Share with them that given the financial pressures many practices and medical groups are facing due to COVID-19, now is not the time to implement any payment reductions. <a href="https://takeaction.wsma.org/urge-congressional-action-to-halt-medicare-payment-cuts/">Click here</a> to send a message to your congressional representative using our automated platform - we've supplied messaging if helpful.</p> </div>12/10/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
what_you_need_to_know_about_covid_19_vaccines_and_moreWhat You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines and MoreLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201210/what_you_need_to_know_about_covid_19_vaccines_and_more<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/COVID-19-Vaccine-Illustration-Black-645x425px.png" class="pull-right" alt="Covid-19 vaccine illustration" /> </div> <h5>December 10, 2020</h5> <h2>What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines and More</h2> <p>Washington state is moving rapidly to prepare for vaccine deployment, with COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline and FDA emergency use authorization expected for one or more soon. The following educational sessions can help ensure you are up to speed with the latest updates on vaccines and other COVID-19 clinical developments.</p> <h3>COVID-19 Testing, Treatment, Lasting Impact, and Vaccines Q&A Session</h3> <p>Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 16 from noon-1 p.m. for this next session in our COVID-19 Virtual Grand Rounds series. For this webinar, an expert panel of physicians will be on hand to answer your questions about COVID-19 testing, treatment options, long-term follow-up, and vaccines. All of our Virtual Grand Rounds webinars are free of charge for members.</p> <p>Panelists include:</p> <ul> <li>SheAnne Allen, MPH, MCHES, COVID-19 vaccine director and deputy PCH response director, Office of Immunization and Child Profile, Washington State Department of Health</li> <li>Jason Goldman, MD, MPH, infectious disease and organ transplant, Swedish Medical Center</li> <li>Lisa Jackson, MD, MPH, senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute</li> <li>Kathy Lofy, MD, state health officer and chief science officer, Washington State Department of Health</li> <li>Francis Riedo, MD, medical director of infection control, EvergreenHealth</li> <li>Mark Tonelli, MD, MA, section head of division of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, UW Medical Center</li> <li>Yuan-Po Tu, MD, medical director, anticoagulation clinic, Epic provider efficiency, and flu services, The Everett Clinic</li> </ul> <p>This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>â„¢. <a href="https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_A5eSFS2gSdCoCNjQ4Yg4Yw">Register online</a>.</p> <h3>COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Webinar</h3> <p>The Washington State Department of Health is hosting this free webinar on Thursday, Dec. 17, from noon-1 p.m. for physicians and other health care professionals. The session will cover COVID-19 epidemiology, COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine testing and approval process, vaccine adverse events, and other safety resources.</p> <p>Presenters include:</p> <ul> <li>Chas DeBolt, RN, MPH, senior epidemiologist for vaccine-preventable diseases, Washington State Department of Health</li> <li>John Dunn, MD, MPH, medical director for preventive care, Kaiser Permanente Washington</li> <li>Kathy Bay, RN, CENP, DNP, clinical, quality, epidemiology, and school section manager, Washington State Department of Health</li> </ul> <p>This activity has been approved for <em>AMA PRA Category 1 Credit</em>â„¢. <a href="https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8511091222749618187">Register online</a>.</p> </div>12/10/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
wsma_raises_alarm_at_proposal_to_dissolve_tacoma_pierce_county_health_departmentWSMA Raises Alarm at Proposal to Dissolve Tacoma-Pierce County Health DepartmentLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20201210/wsma_raises_alarm_at_proposal_to_dissolve_tacoma_pierce_county_health_department<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img src="/images/Newsletters/MembershipMemo/2020/December/TPCHD%20Main%20Entrance-645x425px.jpg" class="pull-right" alt="Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department building" /> <p><em><span style="font-size: 13px;">Photo courtesy of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department</span></em></p> </div> <h5>December 10, 2020</h5> <h2>WSMA Raises Alarm at Proposal to Dissolve Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department</h2> <p>Public health officials across our state and country have been on the front lines of the worst pandemic in recent history and have come under intense political, and sometimes personal, pressure and attacks. Now, officials in Pierce County face their own political firestorm, as the Pierce County Council considers a troubling proposal to terminate the interlocal agreement between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County that established the joint Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.</p> <p>Upon learning of the proposal (<a href="https://online.co.pierce.wa.us/cfapps/council/iview/proposal.cfm?proposal_num=2020-136">Proposed Ordinance No. 2020-136</a>), the WSMA issued <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Press_Release/2020/WSMA_Response_to_Pierce_County_Council_Proposal_to_Dissolve_Tacoma-Pierce_County_Health_Department">a statement</a> from President Nathan Schlicher, MD, himself a Pierce County resident, expressing alarm over the potential consequences of such a move during a pandemic. The WSMA remains greatly dismayed over the sudden and rushed nature of the proposal - which surprised Tacoma Pierce-County Board of Health's <a href="https://www.tpchd.org/Home/Components/News/News/206/286">Director of Health Anthony Chen, MD</a>, board of health member and WSMA Immediate Past President William Hirota, MD, and other health leaders.</p> <p>The WSMA has joined with the Pierce County Medical Society to call on Pierce County residents to oppose the proposal, which threatens to distract the health department from its pandemic response and could potentially <a href="https://www.tpchd.org/Home/Components/Blog/Blog/31843/333">lead to funding and staff losses</a>. A final vote on the proposal is scheduled for Dec. 15. <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Take_Action/Call_to_Action.aspx">Please call and email your district's council member today</a>.</p> </div>12/10/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
weekly_rounds_december_4_2020_pierce_county_concerns_other_covid_19_news_for_physiciansWeekly Rounds: December 4, 2020 - Pierce County Concerns, Other COVID-19 News for PhysiciansLatest_NewsShared_Content/News/Weekly_Rounds/2020/weekly_rounds_december_4_2020_pierce_county_concerns_other_covid_19_news_for_physicians<div class="col-md-12"> <div class="col-md-5 pull-right" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Weekly Rounds logo" class="pull-right" src="/images/Logos/Weekly-Rounds-Article-Graphic-645x425px.jpg" /></div> <h5>December 4, 2020</h5> <h2>Pierce County Concerns, Other COVID-19 News for Physicians</h2> <p>Jennifer Hanscom, Executive Director/CEO</p> <p> Public health officers across our state and country have been on the front lines of the worst pandemic in recent history and have come under intense political, and sometimes personal, pressure and attacks. This troubling pattern has caused many communities to be <a href="https://coronavirus.wa.gov/vi/gatherings">without sound leadership</a> as they face an ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases on top of the other necessary and needed responsibilities of local public health - food worker safety, immunizations and infectious diseases, clean water, and child and family health among them. </p> <p> In the latest development, the Pierce County Council will consider a deeply troubling proposal to terminate the interlocal agreement between the City of Tacoma and Pierce County that established the joint Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. </p> <p> The <a href="https://online.co.pierce.wa.us/cfapps/council/iview/proposal.cfm">ordinance being considered</a> by the council is hasty, poorly timed, and could have severe negative consequences on public health. The WSMA strongly agrees with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's <a href="https://www.tpchd.org/Home/Components/News/News/206/286">response</a> that "efforts that divide our attention from this critical public health response are an unfortunate distraction." </p> <p> Now, during the worst public health crisis in more than a century, is not the time to distract Pierce County's public health leaders from taking care of the health and well-being of their constituents. </p> <p> The first hearing on the resolution is Dec. 7 with a planned final vote scheduled for Dec. 15. Please <a href="[@]WSMA/Advocacy/Take_Action/Call_to_Action.aspx">call and email your council member today</a> and urge them to oppose this proposal. </p> <h3>Proclamation update</h3> <p> Last week, Gov. Jay Inslee issued updated requirements for the continued performance of non-urgent health care services, procedures, and surgeries. <a href="https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/proclamations/proc_20-24.2.pdf" target="_blank">Proclamation 20-24.2</a> allows health care facilities, practices, and practitioners to provide non-urgent health care services if the facilities, practices, and practitioners act in good faith and with reasonable clinical judgment to meet specific criteria and making certain considerations, as detailed in <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx">WSMA guidance issued to members</a>. </p> <p> The governor's proclamation is effective Dec. 3 through the end of the state of emergency, or until it is rescinded or updated. </p> <p> Be sure to familiarize yourself with the new proclamation by reading WSMA's guidance materials available from our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Clinical_Guidance_and_Testing/covid_19_clinical_guidance_and_testing.aspx">COVID-19 Professional Resources webpage</a>. If you have questions on these resources or what the proclamation means for you and your practice, contact the WSMA policy department at <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>Telemedicine payment parity</h3> <p> Last month, the Legislature granted a brief extension - through Dec. 7 - of Gov. Jay Inslee's proclamation temporarily requiring telemedicine payment parity. Similarly, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner extended its emergency order to health insurers expanding telehealth and other coverages until Dec. 11, including requiring all state-regulated carriers to permit and reimburse for care provided over non-HIPAA-compliant platforms, including video chat applications and telephones. </p> <p> We continue to advocate for these policies to be extended - for the governor's proclamation, through the end of the year, which is when the provisions of Senate Bill 5385, permanently requiring payment parity from state-regulated health plans, take effect. For the OIC emergency order, for the duration of the public health crisis. We should hear if these orders are extended further next week - the next extension of the governor's payment parity order would presumably go through the end of the year, with SB 5385 taking effect on Jan. 1. </p> <h3>Enroll your practice in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program</h3> <p> According to the <a href="https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2020121050">DOH briefing</a> on Wednesday, Dec. 2, facilities enrolled in the state's <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/HealthcareProviders/VaccineInformationforHealthcareProviders">COVID-19 Vaccination Program</a> by Dec. 6 will be eligible to receive doses from the initial allotment, expected potentially as early as mid-December. To enroll your practice or facility, you must simply initiate the process by completing the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVID-19-Provider-Enrollment-Guide.pdf" target="_blank">provider inquiry form</a>. The DOH has shared a <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVID-19-Provider-Enrollment-Guide.pdf" target="_blank">COVID-19 provider agreement enrollment guide</a> to help guide physicians and providers through the enrollment process, as well as a <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/PreparationChecklist_COVID19VaccineProvider.pdf" target="_blank">provider preparation checklist</a>. For questions about the enrollment process or for technical assistance, please contact <a href="mailto:COVID.vaccine@doh.wa.gov">COVID.vaccine@doh.wa.gov</a>. </p> <p> As a benefit of membership, WSMA members may also contact the WSMA's policy team with questions or support on the state's rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine. Email <a href="mailto:policy@wsma.org">policy@wsma.org</a> with your questions. </p> <h3>Invitation to join PPE group buy</h3> <p> With the heightened need for vetted and affordable PPE due to the novel coronavirus, a public-private collaborative group of local health care associations and organizations has come together to purchase high-quality PPE as a group. (Learn more about the purchasing co-op on the <a href="https://www.onehealthport.com/ppe-coop">OneHealthPort website</a>.) </p> <p> The WSMA is inviting our members to join in a group buy for the following: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://ppe-vendor-files.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/BYD-N95-NIOSH-Cutsheet.pdf" target="_blank">BYD NIOSH approved N95 respirators</a></li> <li><a href="https://ppe-vendor-files.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/Surgical-Mask-LevelIII-FE2311X.pdf" target="_blank">3-ply surgical masks - ASTM Level 3</a></li> <li><a href="https://ppe-vendor-files.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/Level%203%20Test%20and%20Specs%20NAF003S.pdf" target="_blank">Level 3 surgical gowns (sterile)</a></li> <li><a href="https://ppe-vendor-files.nyc3.digitaloceanspaces.com/Level%203%20Test%20and%20Specs%20PE003E.pdf" target="_blank">Level 3 surgical gowns disposable (non-sterile)</a></li> </ul> <p> Don't delay; the deadline to submit your order is fast approaching. For more details, visit the <a href="http://wsma.org/Shared_Content/News/Latest_News/2020/December/Invitation_to_Join_PPE_Group_Purchasing_Order.aspx?_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=xuTH7">WSMA website</a>. </p> <h3>Adult flu vaccine doses available</h3> <p> Through the aid of a CDC grant, the Washington State Department of Health is now offering <a href="[@]Shared_Content/News/Membership_Memo/20200813/covid_19_adds_urgency_to_preparations_for_flu_season">additional adult flu vaccine doses</a> for un- and under-insured individuals. These adult doses will be distributed to physicians and providers participating in the state's adult vaccine program. To enroll, complete the provider agreement form located in Appendix A of the <a href="https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/348-640-WAAdultVaccineProgramManual.pdf" target="_blank">Adult Vaccine Program User Manual</a>. Email <a href="mailto:WAAdultVaccines@doh.wa.gov">WAAdultVaccines@doh.wa.gov</a> for details. </p> <h3>COVID-19 patient education material</h3> <p> The WSMA continues to make available to our members multilingual resources on the state's Safer Gatherings campaign, plus a new poster created by one of our members - a "Rosie the Riveter"-style poster encouraging mask wearing (it's great!). Go to our <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1vTH7">COVID-19 Patient Education webpage</a> to download these materials for use in your office or on your social media channels. Also, while you're there, don't miss a new AMA-produced public service announcement co-branded with the WSMA as part of our #MaskUp public awareness campaign - the PSA carries the message of "3 simple steps you can take to stop the spread of COVID-19." <a href="[@]WSMA/Resources/COVID-19_Response/COVID-19_Patient_Education/WSMA/Resources/COVID-19/COVID-19_Patient_Education/covid_19_patient_education.aspx?hkey=1883b646-8a34-48dc-926d-c9711850a7cd&_zs=B3aFd1&_zl=1vTH7">Take a look and let us know what you think</a>. </p> <h3>Call for physicians fluent in other languages</h3> <p> To reach more populations and cultures with important health messages, the WSMA is looking for physicians fluent in non-English languages who would be interested in helping us on our public education initiatives (COVID-19 and otherwise). If you are interested in volunteering your time to help the WSMA enhance its patient outreach to non-English-speaking communities, please contact Graham Short at <a href="mailto:gfs@wsma.org">gfs@wsma.org</a>. </p> <h3>Get your flu shot</h3> <p> While flu activity in Washington is low, the WSMA continues its Be Safe. Be Smart. Get Your Flu Shot. campaign to encourage flu vaccination. As part of our targeted media and community outreach, we recently distributed to Yakima-area media and stakeholders two PSAs featuring WSMA 1st Vice President Katina Rue, DO, a <a href="https://vimeo.com/476007138">30-second version</a> designed for social/broadcast media, and a <a href="https://vimeo.com/475993337">60-second version</a> designed for websites. And don't miss WSMA board member Monica Blykowski-May, MD, who was featured in <a href="https://www.cheneyfreepress.com/story/2020/11/12/news/respiratory-illness-double-down/27416.html">two Spokane</a> <a href="https://www.dptribune.com/content/wa-physicians-urge-patients-get-flu-shots-state-braces-double-whammy-covid-and-flu">area papers</a> sending our topline messages. </p> <p> Remember to leverage the trust patients have in their physicians and be sure to get your flu shot - and let your patients know. </p> </div>12/4/2020 12:00:00 AM1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM
 
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